Our wonderful neighbors, J&W, offered to host us at their house for our last night. We had a fun dinner with some other friends who stopped by and then Matt and I went back to the house to sort out the sailing stuff and get it packed up. We worked until 12:30 am and then went to J&W’s house to crash (it made me wonder why adults don’t have sleepovers more often. They’re a lot of fun!). We got up in the morning and still had a lot of trips to make to empty things into a dumpster, take out recycling, make a trip to the storage unit to drop off everything that ended up not going into the sailing pile, etc. so as not to leave anything for the new owners. Until all of this was done, we really couldn’t pack everything into the two mini-vans. I don’t know how Matt did it but he configured them like a puzzle and got everything to fit. We literally left the house 58 minutes before the new owners were due to arrive. Not exactly the relaxed exit I had envisioned.
We then had to drive to my pottery co-op, pack up all my stuff there into boxes, unpack part of one of the vans, and load all of the pottery boxes. The boys and I sat on all the stuff (watching a Dr. Seuss video) while Matt took everything to the storage unit. About three hours later, we then re-loaded the van and were on our way out (after making stops on our way out of Cleveland to say goodbye to two significant others in our life). We were all so exhausted that Joshua fell asleep about 8 minutes into the trip. I called Matt and said I could only make it about 1.5 hours and that we’d need to stay in a hotel. I was literally being fueled by caffeine and chocolate for the previous two weeks and was about to crash. We are hoping this is the storm before the calm.
I am in my element in chaos. I can clearly see what supplies are needed, what has to get done, who should do what, and in what order. Matt, most decidedly, is not. Chaos can be paralyzing for him – even lengthy restaurant menus are overwhelming. He will sometimes ask the dismayed server to ‘just bring me something good.’ We have been married long enough to know each other’s strengths so I take the lead here – sacrificing sleep and a bit of sanity to get everything done.
The cleaning service was coming the next day but there was still a lot left to be done (e.g., organizing the mountain of ‘bring with us’ stuff in the garage, etc). Matt had scheduled an 8 pm massage because “I need to say goodbye to people.”(Had I thought of this nifty rationale, I would have scheduled one myself!). He also said he was going to go straight to the hotel afterward to ‘get a good night’s sleep because I have a 7 am appointment to get a hitch and bike rack mounted on the van.” This was in contrast to my mom and I working until 1:30 am to finish packing things in the house and arriving at the hotel around 2 am. I then got up at 5 am to take her to the airport and was back working in the house by 7 am. Matt had the boys and called me around noon. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Where are you and why aren’t you here yet?!
Matt: Um, I slept through the 7 am appointment so they couldn’t do the bike rack until after 9 am. Do you want to meet for lunch?
Me: No! There’s no time for food! The cleaning people are here. There is stuff all over the place – I’m barely staying one step ahead of them and getting things out of the house!
Matt: Yeah, it’s a lot … (in a commiserating tone)
Me: Mmm-hmm. I know – getting a massage, sleeping in late, having breakfast, going out for lunch … It IS a lot! There’s just not time for it all! (in a decidedly non-commiserating tone)
Matt: (laughing sheepishly). Um. Ok. I’m going to hang up now …
The timing of the universe always amazes me. I’ve been the self-monikered ‘Craigslist Queen’ for the past month. I’ve literally posed about 45 items on Craigslist – one of which is my beloved desk. It’s not a fancy or expensive desk, but it’s huge. I like to spread out when I work on my many projects (‘kind of like a fungus’ as Matt says). We decided it just wasn’t worth it to store my desk for a year and that it was better to get rid of it (we only paid about $150 for it). Disappointed, I posted it for $75. A few inquiries but, again, the thing is huge. It requires at least 9 square feet of space. (I never said I was neat).
As the days ticked toward M-Day (Moving Day), I gradually began lowering the price to $50. Five days before the movers arrived, ‘James’ emailed me saying that he was the youth pastor of a nascent church, that the desk would be perfect, and was there any way I would accept less because they don’t have much money. Really? I thought $50 was already way too low for my beloved desk. I said I would consider it if there were no other takers and said that he could pray there were no other takers and that maybe he could pray our trip goes well at the same time. He responded back and said that his entire congregation (all five of them?) would pray for us, regardless of the desk outcome. One day before the movers arrived I started getting antsy about all of the items that still had to be moved out of the house because they wouldn’t fit in storage. I emailed James to see if he still wanted the desk. No reply. The movers came and went today and the only large piece of furniture left is my desk. Another potential buyer who had wanted to see it earlier emailed about seeing it tonight. Immediately after I gave her our address, a neighbor called and also requested to see it. The caller came to see it and then needed to go home and measure her space to see if it would fit. In the meantime, the neighbor came to see it and decided it was too big. A while later, the caller said it also was too big for her space. So, … two strikes out on my wonderful desk. Within an hour, what happens? I get an email, from James of course, asking if it’s still available! He never received my earlier message and clearly no one else wanted my desk. I felt guilty that I was not initially more generous and ended up selling him the desk for $25 and threw in a $150 office chair for free. We’re going to cross the Atlantic – we need all the positive vibes we can get!
Matt spent five days in the sweltering Annapolis heat trying to fix the toilet. In the meantime, I was trying to pack up the house while simultaneously taking care of two energetic boys with short attention spans. We had a moving company come out to estimate moving costs and assess how much space all of our ‘stuff’ would take up in a storage unit. They said we were actually on the lighter end of the stuff scale. Really?!
Matt arrived home from Maryland demotivated and exhausted. He hadn’t slept well the previous two nights because of heat and anxiety. After recounting all of this, he looked at me and plaintively asked, “What are we doing and why are we doing this?!” Being overwhelmed by all that had to get done in order to pack up the house, I think I mumbled something comforting like “Umm… I’m not sure.”
One of our friends sent us a card (a real card – the things that actually arrive in
a mailbox with a stamp, not in an inbox with a subject line). She wrote “It
will undoubtedly be a transformative year. Your children will forever remember
that their parents were not afraid to be bold; that there is more to life than
work and asphalt; that the world is immense and there is great beauty to be
found.” Well said, Annie!